Green infrastructure is not a new idea. It is an all-inclusive name for how natural environmental elements can be easily incorporated into the built environment. The elements that make up green infrastructure are straightforward: trees, rain gardens, native landscaping, green roofs and bioretention features. These elements can be deployed in various combinations in commercial, residential and natural settings.
The Green Infrastructure (GI) Framework integrates ecological processes into the heart of the region’s cultural and economic fabric. It sets the stage for quality of life that is based on regeneration and offers a conservation planning and design approach to grow our communities in ways that simultaneously create: a healthy environment; neighborhoods that are connected, affordable, and safe; and new educational and economic opportunities. The GI process of analysis and engagement stimulates integrating living systems with human aspirations.
It starts with water. Valuing every drop of water means: increasing the health of the soil that it falls upon; catching it, cleaning it and reusing it where it falls; and making sure it doesn’t carry pollutants into streams. Commitment to the value of water means that it is considered first in every response to comprehensive planning and design of urban and rural environments. It also means that local and regional leadership and policy supports integrated decision-making to increase the ecological function of watersheds.